Wednesday is the deadline for Idaho seniors to enroll in Medicare coverage for 2012, but some will have another few days.
The Idaho Department of Insurance says some Medicare enrollment requests submitted after the midnight deadline will be honored because a flood of telephone calls and online requests caused a backlog. For those people, Medicare will process enrollments through midnight Saturday. For everyone else, midnight tonight remains the cutoff for choosing Medicare plans.
The deductible for Medicare Part B that covers outpatient medical care will be $22 lower in 2012, while premiums for Part B coverage will increase by $3.50 per month for most people. The average Medicare Advantage premium will drop 4 percent.
Seniors who take prescription drugs can qualify next year for a 50-percent discount on brand name drugs if their medications cost enough to fall within a coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.” About 10,700 Idaho Medicare beneficiaries who fell in that gap this year will save nearly $6 million, or about $556 per person. The 2010 health care reform law added doughnut-hole benefits and free preventive health care for seniors.
Seniors who need help enrolling should call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 or the Idaho Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors office at (800) 247-4422. Information is also available online at www.medicare.gov. (Idaho Statesman)